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The Ohio stakes season kicked into high gear at Miami Valley Raceway on Friday night (April 29) as Queen Ann M (Chris Page) captured the $35,000 championship leg of the James K. Hackett Memorial for Buckeye-bred harness racing sophomore pacing fillies. The daughter of Big Bad John, who earned over $100,000 as a freshman, scored gate-to-wire in 1:54.1 for owner Alan Keith and trainer Mike Roth. In just her second seasonal start, Queen Ann M held off fast-closing She Gone (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) by a head, while favored My Tweed Heart (Josh Sutton) was a game third, beaten one-half length, following a first-over journey. Eight of the nine Hackett filly finalists finished within four lengths of each other, an indication that the summer-long Ohio Sires Stakes series in this division could be a donnybrook from start to finish. The first leg of the OSS for 3-year-old fillies, both pacers and trotters, will be hosted by Miami Valley next Friday (May 6) in multiple $40,000 divisions. Kerfuffle Cookie (Chris Page) established a new sophomore trotting filly track record when she blew past a field of older trotters to score a 1:57.1 victory in a $10,000 conditioned trot. The Chip Chip Hooray lass, co-owned by trainer Chris Beaver with Synerco Ventures Inc., will be among the favorites in the squaregaiter splits next Friday. A $20,000 Open Fillies & Mares Pace was also contested with a 1:52.1 photo finish as the result. Favored American Girl (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) notched her sixth win in 13 starts since the calendar turned to 2016. The 7-year-old Art's Chip mare proved a scant neck better than Igottafeelinfran (Kayne Kauffman) with Addy's Way (Dan Noble) not far behind in third. Darla Gaskin and Stanley Rosenblatt share ownership of the winner, who is conditioned by Tyler George. The Saturday (April 30) card at Miami Valley features the $35,000 championship of the James K. Hackett Memorial for Ohio-sired 3-year-old colts and a $20,000 Open I Pace. Post time is 6:05 p.m. Gregg Keidel

LEBANON, OH. - Despite the fact Safe From Terror had won three of the last five $20,000 Fillies and Mares Open paces at Miami Valley Raceway, all as an odds-on favorite, the faithful thought her assigned No. 9 post position might be insurmountable and dispatched the razor-sharp 4-year-old at odds of 7-2. Driver Chris Page, however, didn't believe the task was too daunting and worked out a trip that resulted in Safe From Terror emerging from a stretch cavalry charge to again reach the wire first-this time in 1:52.4. Aqua Artist (Kyle Ater), the longest shot in the 10-horse field at 61-1, raced gamely to finish second with favored Addy's Way (Dan Noble) the third to trip the beam. Safe From Terror was purchased at the Harrisburg sale last Fall by Winchester Baye Acres and has paid handsome early dividends. The daughter of Western Terror, who is being pointed towards the $100,000 Chip Noble Memorial Grand Circuit race at Miami Valley on closing day (May 8), has earned $67,640 already this year for her new owners and over $551,000 lifetime. A trio of James K. Hackett Memorial elimination divisions, featuring Ohio-sired sophomore pacing fillies, were also contested with the top three finishers from each $10,000 split advancing to next Friday night's $35,000 championship event. My Tweed Heart (Josh Sutton) captured the first elim in a track-record equaling time of 1:53.1 for sophomore fillies. The Carl Atley-owned daughter of Manhardt, who made $132,252 as a freshman, topped It's Your Fantasy (Dan Noble) and Clarebear (Kayne Kauffman). Jim Dailey conditions the winner, who now boasts five wins in her first eight career starts. JL Wonder Woman (Kayne Kauffman) picked a good time to break her maiden, winning the second division in 1:54 for trainer and part-owner Scott Mogan and his partners. The Feelin Friskie lass bested Feelin Lilly (Chris Page) and Big Bad Bertha (Dan Noble) to advance to the 'Big Dance' next week. The final elimination was garnered by She Gone (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) in 1:55.4, benefitting from soft early fractions and upsetting Queen Ann M (Chris Page) and Im Feelin Fine (Josh Sutton). Trainer Brian Brown also co-owns the winner, who is now two-for-two since returning from winter training in Florida recently. Driver Dan Noble had the hottest hand on Friday winning five heats. Noble's successes came behind Igotafeelinfran, Yankee's Lady, Lindysbathinbeauty, Edita Hanover and Herzon. From the Miami Valley Media Deaprtment

LEBANON, OH. - On the heels of One Lucky Dragon's 1:49.4 all-age pacing record at Miami Valley Raceway on Saturday night, Lady's Dude lowered the all-age trotting record to 1:52.1 on Sunday afternoon.   In addition, the track record for 3-year-old trotting colts was lowered by almost two full seconds when Fantasy League captured a division of the Robert J. Brown series in 1:55.2.   Lady's Dude, handled by red-hot Chris Page, in just his fifth 2016 start and second following a two-month break, left with alacrity and tripped the first quarter timer in :28, just as Boffin (Tyler Smith), who owned the track record (1:53.4) for older male trotters at that moment, was making a quarter-move to the front.   As the luke-warm favorite, Boffin continued to show the way through middle fractions of :56.2 and 1:24 before yielding in mid-stretch to pocket-sitting Lady's Dude, who trotted a :28 closing quarter to garner the track record as well as the winner's share of the $20,000 Open purse. Parkhill Lancelot (Randy Crisler) worked out a second-over trip to close for third.   Lady's Dude, an Ohio-sired 5-year-old son of Victory Sam, is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and J. E. Yoder. Fantasy League (Kyle Ater) obliterated the sophomore trotting standard with his four-length triumph in the day's first race. Getting away third, the sophomore son of And Away We Go moved prior to the half, cleared to the front easily before the three-quarters and coasted home a winner in 1:55.2. Owned and trained by Mike Sowers, Fantasy League bested Kentucky Hall (Jeremy Smith) and Chip Or Don (Tyler Smith) in his record-setting performance.   A second division of the Robert J. Brown series, for non-winners of two pari-mutuel races or $15,000 lifetime, went to The Next Triumph (Jeremy Smith) over Rompaway Hustler (Roy Wilson) and Crowned With Glory (Ed Greeno Jr.) in 1:56.1.   From the Miami Valley Media Department

LEBANON, OH. - Driver Chris Page equaled the harness racing record for victories on a single card Friday night (April 15) at Miami Valley Raceway by capturing seven of the first eleven races on the 14-race program. The 32-year-old Mt. Vernon, Ohio native now shares the mark with Josh Sutton, who managed the same feat on Saturday night, April 2, less than two weeks ago. Page guided odds-on favorite Safe From Terror to a 1:52.2 score over American Girl (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) and Addys Way (Dan Noble) in the $20,000 Mares Open Pace, her fourth win in seven tries against the best distaffers at the meet. The 4-year-old Western Terror daughter is being pointed towards the $100,000 (est.) Chip Noble Memorial Grand Circuit race scheduled for closing day, May 8, at Miami Valley. The 17 time winner, owned by Winchester Baye Acres and trained by Jim Arledge Jr, now boasts lifetime earnings of $541,262. Page's other triumphs came behind Made Of Jewels AS (1:54.4, $3.80), Duel Of Truth (1:54.1, $2.80), Ginger Spice N (1:52.4, $13.00), Edita Hanover (1:54.4, $38.20), Canttakeitwithyou (1:54.1, $21.40) and Miss Princess Leah (1:54.3, $4.00). When asked if he was having fun near the end of the night, Chris smiled and quietly said "Oh Yeah!" A fellow driver nearby was overheard chuckling "Oh yeah, he's a real ladies man!," a good-natured reference to the fact that six of Page's seven triumphs were with female pacers on his record-equaling night. The championship leg of the Dr. Don Mossbarger Memorial Series was also contested with Ginger Tree Alexis (Sutton) winning the $25,000 race in dominating fashion over Townlinedaliscard (Kayne Kauffman) and Swinging Cami (Jeremy Smith). Owner Howard Taylor sent the 4-year-old Dragon Again mare to trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. specifically for this series, which was limited to distaffers who had won less than six pari-mutuel races or $50,000 lifetime as of the series' start. From the Miami Valley Media Department

Anette Lorentzon has practiced infinite patience with Infiniti As, and now she is hoping for improved results. Last year at age 3, Infiniti As won two of 10 races and hit the board a total of five times despite going off stride in seven of his starts. He flashed enough speed --- including a 1:52.2 victory at Lexington's Red Mile --- to fuel Lorentzon's hope the gelding can put it all together this season and become a consistent stakes-level performer. She just doesn't want to talk about it much. "I won't say too much with him," Lorentzon said with a laugh. "He's got tons of speed, but you can't really trust him. I will keep my fingers crossed again and hope he can do it. He's got the ability and he showed it last year; he can trot when he stays at it. But that's his big problem because he doesn't really do that all the time. "It's frustrating. Everyone that drives him says he's got tons of speed. He's supposed to be a good one. He should have a lot more money on his card than he has. He drives you crazy." Infiniti As, bred and owned by Ann-Christin Lorentzon's and John Erik Magnusson's ACL Stuteri AB, has won four of 18 career races and earned $52,383. On Tuesday he makes his 4-year-old debut in the second of three first-round divisions of the Dr. Dan Farwick Memorial Series at Miami Valley Raceway. He is the 2-1 morning line favorite and will have Chris Page in the sulky. Page won with Infiniti As in a maiden race at The Red Mile during the trotter's 2-year-old season. Infiniti As is a son of former Italian star Infinitif out of the mare Yankee Jeanie. His family includes 1992 Goldsmith Maid Stakes winner Yankee Dreamboat as well as 1948 Kentucky Futurity winner Egan Hanover and 1947 Hambletonian runner-up Rodney. Lorentzon has Infiniti As, a two-time Breeders Crown participant, staked lightly this year. Whether the horse makes those engagements will be up to him. "He really needs to step up and prove that he's good enough to do it," Lorentzon said. "If he can mind his manners, we might be good enough to go there. Hopefully he turns it around and shows what he can do. But if he decides he wants to make a break, he's going to do it. It doesn't take much for him to make a break. "Sometimes it's better to have a horse that's not as fast but really tries than have a horse that is wicked fast and doesn't want to do it. Hopefully he behaves this year." Infiniti As is not Lorentzon's only horse in the Farwick Memorial Series. She also has Josie's Joy, a 4-year-old mare, in the third division. Josie's Joy, owned by ACL Stuteri AB and Kjell Johansson, is 7-2 on the morning line. She has won five of 20 career races and earned $53,410. Josie's Joy was trained by Chuck Sylvester at age 2. After the season, she sold for $180,000 at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale Mixed Sale. She is a three-quarter sister to stakes-winner Smilin Eli and her dam, Gerri's Joy, won the 2006 Merrie Annabelle Stakes. "She's got speed, but she is her own worst enemy," Lorentzon said. "She gets stressed out and that's the biggest problem with her. We're just trying to settle her down; that's the main thing for her, just quiet her down. We didn't stake her. I just want to see what we have before I stake her. She didn't show me the speed like Infiniti did. I just hope we can get her racing OK and she will make some good money." Josie's Joy is one of nine mares in the Farwick Memorial Series. The event features two preliminary rounds, with races going for $12,500 each, and a $25,000-estimated final on April 26. Dan Ater's Honey B is the 5-2 morning line favorite in Tuesday's first division and Randy Tharps' Tricky Nick is the 2-1 choice in the third division. Story by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

LEBANON, OH. - Rockin Ron invaded Miami Valley Raceway Saturday night (April 9) and ran his win streak to nine with an impressive 1:52 win in the $20,000 Open I pace. Driver Chris Page sent the prohibitive favorite, who won six consecutive races at The Meadows this year and a pair at Hoosier Park at the end of 2015, directly to the front from an assigned outside post position. Although eventual runnerup Fancy Creek Elusiv (Josh Sutton) forced the 4-year-old Real Desire gelding to scoot to the quarter-mile marker in :26.4, Rockin Ron was able to post a pedestrian second quarter (reaching the half in :56) before coasting through an identical :56 back half. Fancy Creek Elusive did make it interesting in the final strides, falling just a half-length short. Tyber Tyke (Peter Wrenn) raced well to finish third. Rockin Ron is trained by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and the RTC Stable. A $15,000 Open II pace was captured by Sports Sinner (Dan Noble) by a head over Can He Go (Peter Wrenn) with E R Oliver (Randy Tharps) grabbing the show dough. The 1:53.1 tally was Sports Sinner's 19th in 85 career starts and ran the 5-year-old son of Western Ideal's bankroll to over $130,000 for owner-trainer Steve Perkins. Final preliminary heats in the Tom Tharps Memorial Series were also contested with K Ryan Bluechip and Freedomformysoul victorious in the two divisions. K Ryan Bluechip (Josh Sutton) topped Arti Gras (Kyle Ater) and Prince Bayard (Jason Brewer) in 1:53.2. It was the second straight series score for the 4-year-old Art Major gelding trained by Virgil Morgan Jr. He now has 7 lifetime wins in 20 starts, and earnings approaching $100,000, for owners Carl Howard, Bruce and Trish Soulsby, and Alan Weisenberg. Freedomformysoul (Dan Noble) scored in 1:52.1 by just a head over Undertaker (Peter Wrenn), with Truly Kissed (Kyle Ater) not far behind in third. The triumph was the sixth by the 4-year-old altered son of If I Can Dream and did push his total racing bounty over the $100,000 plateau. Freedomformysoul is owned by Rocco Ruffolo and trained by Jim Ellison. The claim box remains active at Miami Valley as another six Saturday night claimers were collared for $78,000. A total of 227 horses have been claimed during the first 65 nights of the current meet for a total of $2,337,325-another indication of just how vibrant the Ohio racing program has become in the three years since racino legislation was implemented in the Buckeye State. From the Miami Valley Media Department

Safe From Terror pleased a majority of the harness racing punters on Friday night (April 1) at Miami Valley Raceway as the even-money favorite won the $20,000 Fillies and Mares Open pace for the third time in her last four tries since returning to Ohio from Pompano Park two months ago. Driver Chris Page floated out from behind the gate, waited for her main rivals Native Dream (Dan Noble) and American Girl (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) to settle on the front end, then burst up to take the lead at the :27.3 first quarter station. The four-year-old daughter of Western Terror had little difficulty maintaining her position on the point through remaining teletimer stoppages of :56, 1:24.3 and 1:53 at the finish. The pride of the Winchester Baye Acres stable, trained by Jim Arledge Jr., returned $4.20 to her faithful with the convincing score over runnerup American Girl and show finisher Ken Doll J (Josh Sutton). Safe From Terror, a Harrisburg sale purchase last November, now has 16 career victories and $526,262 in earnings--$42,640 of the total in eight 2016 starts. A pair of first leg divisions of the Dr. Don Mossbarger Memorial trotting series were also contested with Southwind Roulette and Tucson Breeze copping the lion's share of the $12,500 purses. Southwind Roulette (Chris Page) lived up to her favorite status, prevailing over Cool Desire (Randy Tharps) and Swinging Cami (Jeremy Smith) in 1:53.3. A daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, owned by Frank Poerio Jr and trained by Kris Hinchcliff, she returned $4.60 for a $2 win bet. Although just a five-time winner, thus fitting the series conditions (N/W 6 pari-mutuel races or $50,000 lifetime), Southwind Roulette now has over $530,000 in lifetime bounty. Tucson Breeze (Dan Noble), on the other hand, did not garner the same kind of pre-race support but nevertheless paced home a fast-closing 1:53 winner, returning a handsome $31.80 mutuel. Heavily-favored Ginger Tree Alexis (Josh Sutton) cut the mile throughout before finishing second, while Dandy's Beauty (Randy Tharps) got up for third. The winner is owned by Aimee Hock and is trained by her father Bill Mt. Pleasant. The win was the daughter of Nuclear Breeze's seventh and pushed her career earnings to $55,483. Rose Run Quasar (Chris Page) won her fifth consecutive race at her third different track over the past five weeks. The four-year-old Explosive Matter mare, owned by Jeffrey Porter and trained by Dale Edwards, started her streak with a pair of triumphs at Northfield Park, captured two more at The Meadows, and garnered her first at Miami Valley in 1:57.4. Her next start is expected to be in the Dr. Dan Farwick Memorial Series at Miami Valley on April 12. Both Cincinnati Gal (Josh Sutton) who was second and Vin (Roy Wilson) who grabbed the show loot are also nominated to the Mossbarger. Gregg Keidel  

Safe From Terror scored her second straight win in Miami Valley's Friday (March 11) $20,000 harness racing mares Open, besting bridesmaid Native Dream (John DeLong) for the second straight week with Aqua Artist (Trace Tetrick) holding on for third after showing the way to the first quarter pole in a quick :26.3. Driver Chris Page elected to move the winner from fourth to the lead during the second quarter, with the half reached in :55.2. Never seriously challenged in the payoff half-mile, Safe From Terror tacked on :28.1 and :28.4 closing panels to complete her mission. It was the 15th career win for the four-year-old daughter of Western Terror, who has banked $513,862 in her first forty starts. Jim Arledge Jr. trains the triumphant lass for Winchester Baye Acres. Earlier on the card, a pair of first leg divisions of the Herb Coven Jr. Memorial Series were contested for distaffers who were non-winners of four races or $30,000 lifetime. Jackie's Rocket (Brady Galliers) copped the first split by beating Powered By Pink (Ken Holliday) and ER Lila (LeWayne Miller) in 1:54.1. Swinging Cami (Jeremy Smith) sped to a 1:53.2 victory in the second division, topping Gray Shadow (Kyle Ater) and Miss Princess Leah (Chris Page). Gregg Keidel  

Safe From Terror captured the $20,000 Mares Open Pace at Miami Valley Raceway on Friday night (March 4), surpassing the half-million dollar earnings mark with the 1:53 score. Harness racing driver Chris Page was content to get away fourth in the ten-horse field with the favored four-year-old daughter of Western Terror. Inching closer at each call, Safe From Terror moved up to third at the half, second at the three quarters and finally collared pacesetters Lease Ness Monster and Aqua Artist at the head of the stretch. Page completed the successful journey by holding off closers Native Dream (John DeLong) and Cast No Shadow (Tyler Smith) by a length and a half at the wire. Jim Arledge Jr. now trains the winner, who was making her second start at Miami Valley since her owner Winchester Baye Acres shipped her back north from Pompano Park a month ago. The feature race was the closing leg of the 50-cent Lucky Pick 5 as the exotic wager made its debut in the USTA's Strategic Wagering program with a $10,000 guaranteed pool. The experiment was a rousing success as over $13,700 in new wagers were added to the $4000 carryover. After deducting the 12% industry-low takeout from the new bets, a total of over $16,000 was divided by eleven winners who each received $1462.05 for their half-dollar wagers. Winners in the Lucky Pick 5 were Western Empress (Jeremy Smith, $4.00 to win), Rehab Mountain (Chris Page, $7.20), Alibi Seelster (Randy Tharps, $18.60), A Little Starstruk (John DeLong, $10,000) and Safe From Terror (Chris Page, $4.60). Gregg Keidel    

Yannick Gingras, last year’s unanimous choice for Driver of the Year, tops the money list again this year, but with a few days left in 2015 he’s $3.7 million and 123 wins short of last year’s record haul—his smallest bankroll since 2011. As a result, hall of famer David Miller, who trails Gingras by more than a million dollars, was voted to the top spot this year. Miller, moved up from the fourth spot in 2014 to number two. He eclipsed the $10 million mark for a record thirteenth time, with his 2015 total of more than $12.3 million being the most the 51-year-old driver has ever earned in one year. Becoming the first driver in the 31-year history of the Breeders Crown to win five of them was the cherry on Miller’s sundae. Moving up from year to year within the top ten is no easy task. Another driver who pulled that off is Jason Bartlett. The 34-year-old Maine native, who won his 6,000 race at the end of October, made the leap from seventh to fourth. 2009 was the only year, Bartlett, the leading driver at Yonkers, earned more than he did in 2015. Bamond Racing  provided Jason with some serious firepower: He won the Blue Chip Matchmaker and Artiscape with division winner Venus Delight; Krispy Apple won 13 times for $360,000; and PH Supercam had eight wins for $366,000. George Napolitano Jr, who was eleventh on the money list last year, has moved up four spots to number seven. He may have passed on a December battle for the dash title, but he banked $1.4 million more this year. That’s a career mark for wins and money for G-Nap. He stayed put in Pennsylvania, leading all drivers at Harrah’s and Pocono Downs. Napolitano won 100 races at those two tracks in July and 105 in August. His 0.404 UDRS is the highest on the top fifty list. Despite getting a late start on his career, he got win number 7,000 on July 15. Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, Chris Oakes and Rene Allard provided many of the winners. The six drivers ahead of Napolitano participated in a lot more Grand Circuit stakes than he did. Dan Dube, who had back surgery three years ago, earned 39% more this year than last year on 120 more wins. The 49-year-old native of Quebec, who drove Gallo Blue Chip and Rock N Roll Heaven, jumped from number 21 to number 10. This was his best year since 2009. The Yonkers regular passed the $100 million mark this year and got his 8,000 win in February. Jimmy Takter, Rene Allard and Scott Di Domenico provided many of the live drives for Dube. He made 89% of his money at Yonkers. Not Afraid, Great Vintage, Daylon Miracle, Red Hot Herbie,  and the undefeated Lucky Chucky filly, Non Stick, were some of his better horses. As usual, Jim Morrill Jr is taking the winter off. The only drivers in the top 45 with fewer drives are John Campbell and Montrell Teague. Still, the Massachusetts native jumped nine spots to number 15. He had 35 fewer wins on 45 more drives, but earned $1.1 million more than he did in 2014. The King of the New York Sire Stakes crushed it again in that program, winning 44 races and earning $1.8 million—34% of his money came out of that program’s coffers. Second place Jason Bartlett was $1.2 million behind Morrill. Joe Larry N Curly, White Rolls, Soft Idea, Habitat and Crazy Wow were a few of his winners. Right behind Morrill is Michigan transplant Tyler Buter. He made 544 more drives this year and bolted from 41 on the 2014 list to number 16. He earned $4.9 million—90% of his bankroll-- at Yonkers, where he finished fifth in the standings. 234 of his 263 wins were there. He was sitting behind Autotune Hanover when he broke his maiden in the Sheppard. The old grey mare, Jonsie Jones, won nine times for $222,000. Zooming, Dream Out Loud N and Backstreet Hanover were other winners for 30-year-old Buter. Chris Page, who at age 32 is a 15-year veteran, stepped up from number 31 to number 23. His earnings on the Ohio circuit went up by $571,000. Chris did very well in that state’s refurbished sire stakes program. The Big Bad John trio, Primo Giovanni, Queen Ann M and Whataboy performed well for him. Ron Burke’s Deep Chip sophomore gelding, I Know My Chip, won seven times for $264,000. Page also drove DWs NY Yank, Clear Vision, Limelight Beach and Larry’s Dude for Burke. He drove Candy’s A Virgin for Brian Brown. Chris won number 3,000 at Dayton late in November. Mark MacDonald, who suffered numerous injuries in a bad racetrack accident in May, 2011, then relocated to Yonkers after missing more than three months at the close of 2011 and beginning of 2012, moved up from number 33 on the earnings list to number 24. He earned $647,000 more and his UDRS moved from 0.201 to 0.240. Sylvain Filion is the only WEG based driver to earn more money in 2015. Mac made 246 more starts this year, 85% of them at Yonkers. Many of his winners paid a price. The FFA trotter, Obrigado, who won the Crawford, was his most lucrative drive. Australian expatriate Andrew McCarthy, who has been driving in North America since 2007, moved up seven spots on the earnings list. He had 11 fewer wins, but banked $445,000 more. This was his best year money-wise as he earned almost $4 million. Ross Croghan, Mark Harder Tony Alagna and Tony O’Sullivan are a few of the trainers he drives for. Wicker Hanover, Outburst, Totally Rusty, She Wore Red and Captive Audience are a few of his drives. Simon Allard stepped up 12 spots, earning a hefty $947,000 more than last year. Brother Rene, the third leading trainer in North America, provided him with plenty of live drives. He was second to George Nap with 236 wins at Pocono Downs. Katie’s Rocker, Big Boy Dreams, Yagonnakissmeornot, Bodacious and National Debt are a few of the horses he drove. Bruce Aldrich Jr, a 47-year-old regular at Monticello and Saratoga, who is fourth in the dash race with 663 wins, jumped 10 spots to number 39. He upped his earnings more than $816,000, as he is having the best year of his 22-year career as a driver. Montrell Teague, who turns 25 next week, made 188 fewer starts and won seven fewer races this year, but he increased his earnings by 60%. Wiggle It Jiggleit was responsible for 60% of the $3.6 million he banked. He was active at the major yearling sales; perhaps he’ll start driving more in 2016. Many drivers remained the same, or made marginal moves: Tim Tetrick went from second to third; Sears went from five to six; Corey Callahan stepped up one spot to five; dash champ Aaron Merriman moves up one spot to 11; Dave Palone drops one to 14; Sylvain Filion remains at 17; Trace Tetrick drops one to 20; Mike Wilder remains at 25; Jordan Stratton up two to 26; Marcus Miller stays at 29; Trevor Henry up one to 38; and Dan Noble up one to 43. And then there are those that fell off a cliff….. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for  http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/.  Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

DAYTON, OH. - It has been a joyous Christmas week at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. With Santa's annual visit just around the corner, the two-year-old track got its present early by establishing new all-time handle records on back-to-back harness racing programs. Tuesday night (December 22) a twelve race card produced at total of $281,353 in wagers, eclipsing the old mark of $238,119. But the bigger (and better) news was Wednesday night (December 23) when the handle soared to $357,603 despite rain throughout the program, including one very heavy thunderstorm that caused a fifteen minute delay for some track surface repairs. "The track is good, better than you could expect," said a mud-covered Chris Page after winning the race immediately following the delay with Leather Betty in 1:56.1. "It's fine," echoed Kayne Kauffman; while Jeremy Smith exclaimed "I have no problem with it. Despite being sloppy, the footing is good." Ohio Harness Horsemens Track Representative Brett Merkle summed it up best: "The track crew worked all day in preparation for the storms they knew were coming, and they took the steps necessary to make sure we could complete the program over a safe surface. They are to be commended on a job well done." Quickest mile of the night belonged to Chattanooga Jim, a four-year-old Jereme's Jet gelding who captured a condition-claiming event for non-winners of four pari-mutuel races in 1:53.1. The recent addition to Hollywood Dayton is owned by A Harris Racing LLC, trained by Chris Short, and was driven by Kauffman. Drivers Trace Tetrick and Tyler Smith, both recent additions to the Hollywood Dayton driving colony following the seasonal closing of Hoosier Park, each scored driving triples, while veteran trot man David Myers fashioned his first driving double of the meet. Racing resumes on Saturday night, December 26, with a strong 14-race card featured three Open events, one for female pacers, one for male pacers and one for top-level trotters. The final three nights of the 75-night meet will be presented Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, December 28-30, with full-field 14-race programs each evening. Gregg Keidel

DAYTON, OH. - Splitting rivals in the final 100 yards of the race, Fancy Creek Elusiv and harness racing driver Chris Page captured the $10,500 Open Pace at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Saturday (December 19) in a quick 1:51 despite sub-freezing temperatures.  Content to sit third and save ground skimming the pylons through the first seven-eighths of the race, Page found a seam just wide enough to squeeze Fancy Creek Elusiv through halfway through the stretch and exploded for a narrow upset victory over pacesetter Thisjetsabookin (Josh Sutton) and first-up Jammin Joshua (Tyler Smith), who finished second and third.  Sent off at 9-2 odds, the winner won for the ninth time this year and increased his earnings to $114,394 in 2015.  The 1:51 clocking was within three-fifths of a second of the Sportsmaster gelding's best, a 1:50.2 effort at Scioto Downs in the summer.  Billy Farmer trains Fancy Creek Elusiv for owner Todd Rosenberg. Gregg Keidel  

DAYTON, OH. - Harness racing driver Chris Page scored a driving triple to reach the coveted 3,000 career triumphs plateau on a rainy Friday night (November 27) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. The 32-year-old Mt. Vernon, Ohio native had an interest in horses from a young age, largely due to an uncle's pleasure horse hobby. Page's interest deepened when he met racehorse veterinarian Dr. Crum, which eventually lead to a part-time apprenticeship at his practice. Next up was Chris's first lessons in harness racing through trainers he met at the Mt. Vernon fairgrounds. It would have been hard to predict the success the blue-and-white clad driver was about to experience after his first season of racing at Ohio fairs in 2000. The then 17-year-old went 0 for 9 and earned $489 for the year. Determined to make the grade, Page persevered for five more years at the Ohio fairs, winning four or five heats each summer. Then in 2006, at age 22, Chris made it known he was ready for the pari-mutuel wars and burst upon the scene with 85 wins, including some at Lebanon Raceway and Scioto Downs. His career has skyrocketed ever since and seems destined to spiral upwards for the foreseeable future. Page has won dash titles at both Scioto Downs and Colonial Downs in his relatively young career. He won three $200,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship races in 2014 and a pair of $225,000 finals this year. He also has a victory in a $300,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes final on his resume. "I finished sixth, beat a dozen lengths, in my favorite race though," Page chuckles. "Like every Ohio-born boy I dreamed from the beginning of being in the Little Brown Jug," he explains, "and trainer Ben Davis gave me that opportunity with Rediscovery in 2014. We drew the 8-hole and didn't make the final, but it was definitely my biggest thrill. I sure hope I get another try someday." Page's 3000th victory came behind Swan's Grace, a three-year-old trotting filly, who beat a field of older and more experienced conditioned horses in 1:56.4. The Jim Arledge Jr. trainee downed Chips (Tyler Smith) and Free Rollin (Ross Leonard) for her sixth lifetime win, upping her earnings to almost $100,000. She was a recent purchase by the Green Acquisition Corp. A pair of Steve Carter-trained pacers gave Page his first two trips to the winner's circle on Friday. Wanna Win copped a $6500 distaff claimer in 1:55.3 over the sloppy track, turning back St Lads Maggie Mae (Randy Tharps) and Carmen O (Ross Leonard). Allthatjazz De Vie beat a good field of top condition-claimers in 1:55.4 with Ponda's Image (Dan Noble) and Burn Time Hanover (Randy Tharps) next to cross the finish line. An $11,500 Fillies and Mares Open pace was the feature event on the program with American Girl (Tyler Smith) copping her second straight win in the top class at Dayton. Buckeye Thea (Josh Sutton) was a fast-closing second with Artistic Fusion (Kayne Kauffman) garnering the show dough. Darla Gaskin and Stanly Rosenblatt own the six-year-old daughter of Art's Chip who now has been the focal point of 28 win pictures and earned close to $600,000. Gregg Keidel

Friday, October 30, 2015, 10:08 PM DAYTON, OH. - Despite being the youngest horse in a full field of Open Mares at Dayton Raceway on Friday night (October 30), Somewhere Sweet also showed why she was the richest harness racing horse in the $12,000 feature race. The sophomore daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, who finished third in the Jugette five weeks ago, driver Chris Page and Somewhere Sweet sat chilly in mid-pack through brisk early fractions of :26.1, :54.1 and 1:22.4, then swept to the front on the final bend and held off Yankee's Lady (Kyle Ater) and Electric Dancemove (Jeff Nisonger) to win by open lengths in 1:52.2. Brian Brown trains the talented lass, owned by the Miller's Stable Inc. The winner's share of the purse pushed the winner's 2015 bounty over $200,000 after winning just one race and earning $11,634 at age two. Driver Jason Brewer scored a 'grand slam' on the program, triumphing with four horses all from his father Jeff Brewer's large stable. Medoland Lindeylou copped a $5000 conditioned pace for female pacers in 1:53.1, Forceful Gale captured a $6000 conditioned trot in 1:57.1, State Street Liz won a $5000 distaff pace in 1:53.4, and Flying Crystal won the mares $8000 to $10,000 claiming handicap in 1:53.3. Kayne Kauffman also enjoyed a successful evening by scoring his own four-bagger to strengthen his second place position in the current local driver's dash standings. Kauffman, who recently eclipsed $10 million in career purse earnings, won the opening two races with Winbak Jake for trainer Sherif Cunmulaj in 1:56.1, then steered trainer Vince Gomez's Chantal to a 1:53.2 tally in a $6500 claimer. He capped off his quarter of victories with Artistic Fusion from his own stable in a $7500 top conditioned event; and notching the nightcap with Virgin Girl for conditioner Katie Dircksen. Keep It Sweet (Chris Page) equalled the local track record for four-year-old trotting mares when she scored in 1:55.1 in a $6000 trot. Owned by John McGill and Brian Carsey and trained by Chris McGuire, Keep It Sweet topped Speed Hanover (Shawn Barker II) and Really Deep Chip (Kayne Kauffman). Racing resumes Saturday night (October 31) with a 12-race Halloween-themed program featuring a $12,000 Open Pace and an $11,500 Open Trot. Gregg Keidel

Two favorites, each steered by their respective harness racing drivers for the very first time, captured two $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) Championships for older horses and geldings Saturday night at Hollywood Dayton Raceway.   Driver Chris Page steered the public's choice Lady's Dude to an easy victory in the $50,000 OSS event for diagonally-gaited Standardbreds.   The altered bay 4-year-old son of Victory Sam notched his third win in a row for trainer Ron Burke, as Page guided the gelding to victory with a front-stepping 1:55.1 effort. Rival Rompaway Galaxy was second for Mike Wilder, while Cant Cutthat Chip was third for Jack Dailey.   "I knew that this horse could get a little aggressive, so I did my best to keep him calm in the post parade," Page stressed. "I knew I had the best horse so when the gate sprung I got him to the front as quickly as possible and it worked out great for us." Lady's Dude is trained by Ron Burke for the Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA; Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA; and Johnny Yoder of Dundee, OH and upped his career earnings to $236,952 with the win, the 13th of his career. The bay gelding took his career mark of 1:53.2 last season at The Meadows. Lady's Dude is the fifth of eight foals out of the broodmare Lady's Star (by Hi Noon Star) p, 5, 1:56.2F ($181,884), and has half-siblings in: Little Moola p, 4, Q2:03.2 ($38,040); Luddite Bluegrass (by Rocky Balboa) 2, 2:00.3M ($30,000); and Lady's Starlet (by Master Lavec) 3, 2:03f ($11,290).   Driver Dan Noble was in the sulky behind the highly-favored Dancin Yankee--Ohio's Aged Pacer of 2014, 2013 & 2012--as the pair captured the $50,000 OSS Aged Pace Final in 1:51.3.   The 7-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser had captured this same event one year ago in 1:52.1 and pushed his career earnings to $1,372,871 for the Baron Racing Stable of Horsham, PA and Richard Lombardo of Solon, OH.   "This horse is just all class," Noble said. "He's got so much back class and is typical of any top horse that a driver is lucky enough to sit behind. He's the consummate professional and there's nothing bad you could ever say about him."   Dancin Yankee now has 46 career victories to his credit, and has grabbed purse checks in 113 of his 132 career starts, with 87 of those being either first, second or third place finishes.   Bred by Elizabeth Wagner, Dancin Yankee was a $17,000 yearling purchase at the 2009 Ohio Select Sale, and is the first foal out of his dam. He is a full brother to $107,572-winning mare Cruzin To The Dance p, 3, 1:53.1f, and also has half-sisters in Dancin Caroll p, 2, Q1:55.1f ($78,146) and Dancin In the Nude p, 2, 1:55.1s ($19,012)--both by Sportswriter. Kimberly Rinker

Seaford, DE --- Unlike most of the young boys growing up in the harness racing industry, Logan Powell never wanted to be a driver. As a child, he knew he liked working with horses but never envisioned himself in the driver’s seat. That all changed when he went his first training mile. It wasn’t the speed or the adrenaline rush that got him hooked though -- it was the challenge of working with the horse. “I like that it’s a team effort,” Powell, 17, said. “You have to work with the horse. He can’t do it all, you have to help him. I can’t do it all, he has to help me.” Powell’s approach to driving appears to be paying off. In his second season of driving in Ohio’s fairs, his UDR sits at .815. From six starts so far this summer, he’s won four and had one second and one third. The Felton, Del., native -- who will be a senior in high school this fall -- is spending the summer in Ohio working for trainer Clarence Foulk. “We have six horses out here,” Powell said. “We’re racing three stakes fillies at the fairs.” Powell grew up watching his father, Sheldon, train horses for Foulk’s son and daughter-in-law, Chad and Trish, in Delaware. Though he helped out in the barn as soon as he was old enough, it was only about two years ago that he developed an interest in training and driving. That first training mile, paired with some encouragement from driver Chris Page during the winter he spent in Delaware, was enough to set Powell on the path to becoming a driver. “When Chris Page came out I trained horses with him,” Powell said. “He kind of talked me into it.” When Powell realized he wanted to sit in the sulky, he turned to the professionals. He studied drivers at his home tracks of Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway but also looked further. “I started paying more attention to what the top drivers were doing at the Meadowlands,” he said. In 2014, his first year of fair driving, Powell's mounts earned $6,265, racking up a record of seven wins and two seconds from 13 starts. After a number of qualifying starts at Rosecroft Raceway this spring, when the school year ended Powell headed back to Ohio for the 2015 season. He made his first start a winning one, steering 3-year-old pacing filly A Lucky Feeling to a 3-1/2 length victory in the first race of the day June 21 at the Circleville Fair. It was a particularly meaningful win for Powell. Though he and the Foulks weren’t aware of it ahead of time, the race was named in honor of longtime friend and horseman Jeff Remy. Remy, who passed away last year, accompanied the Foulks when they first moved east to Delaware. That’s where he first got to know Powell. “I spent a lot of time with him,” Powell said. “It was pretty cool to win the race.” He plans to spend the rest of the summer gaining experience as a driver at the fairs. Though he’s beginning to see the harder parts of driving, especially the pressure that comes from driving other people’s horses, Powell is confident he’ll be making a living in the industry in the future. by Charlene Sharpe, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent  

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